|Aeros 6, Barons 4
| Official Box Score CLEVELAND, Ohio - Ryan Stokes snapped a tie with 7:21 left in regulation, fellow rookie Patrick O’Sullivan scored twice and Kirby Law and Roman Voloshenko each added a goal and two assists, leading the Houston Aeros back from a two-goal deficit for a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Barons at Quicken Loans Arena. Josh Harding made 38 saves in his return from a 13-game injury absence, Erik Westrum also scored and Curtis Murphy added three assists for Houston (36-14-1-2), which snapped a two-game skid and finishes up its five-game road trip Friday and Saturday in Iowa.
Both Law and Murphy reached big milestones for the Aeros. Law now has 401 career AHL points (189-212=401) in 519 games. Murphy surpassed Greg Hawgood for first place on the Aeros’ all-time defensemen points list with 146 (42-104=146). Hawgood had 145.
Mike Iggulden tallied a hat trick, fellow rookie Josh Hennessy also scored and Dmitri Patzold made 26 stops for Cleveland, which is winless in its last 11 (0-9-1-1), including the first eight games of a nine-game homestand that ends Thursday against Grand Rapids. The Barons went 0-4-0-0 this season against the Aeros.
O’Sullivan’s first of the game and 29th of the season, with Houston on a two-man advantage, got the Aeros on top at 4:25 of the first period. Murphy, at the left point, slid a pass along the boards to Law. Law sent a cross-ice pass to O’Sullivan low in the right circle, and the rookie went top shelf by Patzold from a difficult angle.
Westrum extended the advantage to two goals at 12:30 of the first. Voloshenko caused a turnover behind the Cleveland net and fed Westrum, and the AHL’s leading scorer lifted his own rebound by Patzold for his 25th goal of the season.
Iggulden’s first of the game, on the power play, got Cleveland on the board with 27 seconds left in the first. Harding left Tim Conboy’s point blast on the deck, and Iggulden poked it under Harding’s pads.
The Barons got 53 seconds of a 5-on-3 in the second, and they capitalized on both advantages to take the lead. All told, Cleveland scored three times in a 2:19 span.
Iggulden tied things at 2-2 at the 6:37 mark. Garrett Stafford faked the shot from the right circle, instead setting up Iggulden at the left doorstep for his second of the game and 17th of the season.
Hennessy fired the puck from the low right circle through traffic at the end of the one-man advantage, giving Cleveland the 3-2 lead at 7:50 of the second with his 17th goal of the season.
Iggulden’s rocket from the left circle off a cross-ice pass from Patrick Rissmiller beat Harding short side 1:06 later for a 4-2 Barons lead.
Houston got back within 4-3 at the 10:21 mark, on Voloshenko’s power play goal. Voloshenko’s shot hit a defenseman but came right back to him, and he ripped a shot by Patzold for his 25th of the season. Law set the play up with a pass from behind the net for his 400th career AHL point. Voloshenko snapped an eight-game streak without a goal dating back to January 22.
Less than a minute later, Houston’s Bryan Lundbohm rang a shot off the post.
Harding denied Tom Cavanaugh’s whack at a bouncing puck on a shorthanded 2-on-1 with five minutes left in the second.
The Aeros got their fourth straight power play late in the middle period, and O’Sullivan capitalized on the final one, with 2:26 remaining. Peter Olvecky, along the left wing boards, threaded a long pass to a wide-open O’Sullivan in the right circle. The rookie one-timed a blast by the netminder for his second of the game and 30th of the season.
Harding robbed Hennessy with a post-to-post move four minutes into the third. Hennessy snuck behind the defense and tried to deposit a Steve Bernier feed from the right wing boards. Seconds later, Harding pushed aside a Berniet point-blank attempt.
Iggulden nearly netted his fourth of the night midway through the third with the Barons on the power play. But his shot hit off Harding and then the post.
Stokes’ goal gave Houston the lead again with 7:21 left in regulation, and the teams skating 4-on-4. Josh Olson, with a heavy forecheck, caused a turnover behind the net. Lundbohm took the puck and found Erik Reitz at the right point. Patzold kicked out Reitz’ bullet, but the rebound came right to Stokes in the left circle. The rookie blueliner poked the puck by the fallen netminder for his second goal as an Aero. The other was also a game-winner, New Year’s Eve in San Antonio.
Law’s empty-netter finished things off with 38 seconds remaining, after a big Aeros penalty kill. It marked Law’s team-best 31st goal of the season.
Houston has held its opponent without a third-period goal in 22 games this season, and it hasn’t lost in regulation (20-0-1-1). The Aeros have won their last 18 games when not allowing a goal in the final 20 minutes.
Houston finished 3-for-9 on the power play, while Cleveland went 3-for-7. The Aeros are 21-4-0-1 when scoring two or more power play goals.
Notes: Not dressing for the Aeros were Miroslav Kopriva, Colin Peters, Matt Foy, Joey Tetarenko and Andrei Nazarov. Olvecky returned to the lineup after a four-game suspension stemming from a charging penalty last month in Peoria. Westrum leads the AHL with 77 points (24-53=77), ahead of Law (31-42=73). O’Sullivan leads all AHL rookies with 57 points (30-27=57). Cory Larose holds Aeros rookie records in goals (32) and points (64), set in 2001-02. Houston improved to 5-10-0-1 when allowing four or more goals. Houston has trailed at some point in 14 of its 36 victories, with five of the wins coming when trailing by two goals. Reitz and Stokes each finished a team-best plus-two.